Basement War

I have been MIA for some time, owing to the copious amount of basement cleaning/work that needed completing. Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated although I was almost eradicated by sixty pounds of dryer lint.

We are almost done. We have been almost done for a week. I am very pleased to announce that we have a very large clearing on one side of the basement, as well as another large clearing in the laundry area. This clearing is in jeopardy as I type this; we cleaned out boxes of material and clothing that smelled like general mustiness and cat piddle.

Cats. I have never been a cat fan. I do love the way our cat hops up on the bed and snuggles with us. It’s very comforting to feel her curled up on the small of my back while I cozy on my belly. She is affectionate. Lovely. Charming. She has pushed my tolerance boundary at this point.

This wretched beast destroyed my stairwell carpeting. She has destroyed the nap on several highly noticeable places in the living room and dining room. She has a perplexing disorder that causes her to vomit her food, usually on my rugs, a chair, or a brand new sideboard. Her veterinarian shrugs and offers to remove all four legs, thereby confining her to a single spot. I’ve nearly crumbled to the temptation.

Her recent habit has been to shove all the clean litter out of her clean box, pile it onto my basement floor, and shit or piss. She will do this even if we leave a few “reminders” in her box. Tomorrow I will leave a M18A1 in her litter box, there by solving my problem. Note to self: “front towards enemy”.

I’ve had the opportunity to meander (stumble, screaming) down memory lane. Our excavation yielded my old china doll, bronzed booties, The Cure, a fantastic assortment of classical literature, and some of my old writing.

A friend and I conspired to write a book together. It was my sweat and blood mixed with his suggestions. We thought up technology, social customs and language for this story. Granted, he was too drunk to really do more than say, “Well, George, what if we did more than simple bioengineering?”

My future ex-boyfriend destroyed the book. This moron fancied himself as the next Robert Anson Heinlein. Sadly, his talent was on par with “Where’s Waldo”. His writing style was nothing like mine. His suggestions grated on my nerves. If RJH told me, “well, George, what if we did more than simple bioengineering?” I would join him in a beer-fueled brainstorming session. If the future-ex said the same, he would then follow it with, “this is how I want it…” and no one would be allowed to input anything as he, the future-ex, was All Knowing and All Knowing.

Why did I date him afterwards? I was drunk. Final answer. I did protect some assets by registering my work and our ideas with the U.S. Copyright Office. I did not trust the future-ex.

My friend, RJH, took a downward spiral, as did our friendship. I worried about him for quite a while. He wandered around in a state of apathy, living for the next beer. He was fed quite a few lies from a mutual friend, and I firmly believe that was the catalyst for his breakup with his then-girlfriend as well as our ending. He finally took a prolonged Reality Check and, I would hope, stayed on it. I’m proud of his accomplishments, I truly am. I miss his friendship, even after all these years.

Our daydreaming gave me an entire story outline plus the initial eight chapters completed. I might revisit it. I certainly will change the name of the species. The language was my baby, with a few anatomical suggestions thrown in by my friend. Our own technology has advanced in the last twenty years, thereby negating our species biotech level and my friend’s suggestions. Perhaps I will rework everything. As I told him years ago, I would include him by name, if he wished. He said that he wasn’t interested. (I would include him anyway.)

Yah yah, shur shur.

I stirred up a nest of old photographs. It was the perfect opportunity to jump into the Way Way Back Machine and revisit some old haunts.

It was a cold Christmas in 1992. We had nothing under our tree. We didn’t have a tree. We had an orangutan. It was dead, murdered thirty years prior. It was also stuffed and mounted onto a large branch, festooned with tinsel and holding a candle. Its name was Bobo. Merry Christmas Bobo, from a very drunk Better Half and Aut.

Once upon a time, there was a very stocky Italian who loved to dig up dead things and cruise around in her Jeep. She had a Shadow Dog and really tacky clothing that really didn’t flatter her figure. She could probably bench press the Jeep and the dog, which is why her clothing never fit nicely. Better Half loved her anyway, and took this nifty picture.

Better Half wasn’t always Grizzled Veteran. He was Hottie Veteran with Dogs. See the Hottie Veteran sitting on the rocking chair? Rock, Hottie Vet, rock.

Better Half is MESSY. I believe that is a newt tank on our desk. Perhaps the Savannah Monitor was in it. Who knows.

I went through a blonde phase. I thought I could cover all of my gray hair by making myself look like I had just been frightened by a moose, or an IRS agent, or a fortune cookie saying that some moron named Obama would one day hold office and screw over our soldiers with regard to the TADT policy.

A bad photograph of me. Very bad. Avert your eyes, if possible. Warning: staring directly at this photograph may lead to blindness and erectile dysfunction.

A Christmas dinner. Possibly 2001. My parents, our kiddo Vlad, and us.

New Year’s Eve.


Home Sweet Chaos

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

My poor house. Once so prim, it has become a ships’ graveyard of furniture, boxes, knickknacks, dust and dead bodies.

I lied about the dead bodies. I wanted to see if you were paying attention.

The Epoch of Organization is in no way similar to this present Condition of Chaos. It began with my trip to Colorado. The opportunity to organize our basement did not present it
self prior to then, nor was it convenient to tackle it upon my return. We could have placed all of our Christmas boxes down there but we would have to move them in order to clean. Hence, all of our Christmas is still residing in my dining room, stacked in happy gray tubs (four feet in height.) Never fear! You can not actually see those boxes. The surplus furniture is in the way.

The furniture (and bric-a-brac) comes from my aunt’s home. My cousin parted things out in order to clear the home for sale. She is redoing her home and plans to move many of her
mother’s cherished pieces into her living, dining and family room.

I need to pause here to gush about my cousin’s pad. It rocks. I can’t put it any other way. She is in the process of having her main level carpet replaced. She has already had her basement reworked, with a beautiful laminate floor and freshly hung and painted drywall, courtesy of her daughter and daughter’s friend. It looks fabulous and her mom’s furniture will complete that home perfectly. I’m so happy that she was able to accomplish this transformation. She deserves it more than anyone else in
the whole universe; it‘s a healing makeover.

Back to my mess.

My cousin opted to take her mother’s beautiful breakfront and she passed our grandmother’s on to me. It fits perfectly in our home, whereas my aunt’s matches all of the other furniture going to my cousin’s. I promptly set up that breakfront; the china cabinet that it replaced i
s currently parked in my dining room, awaiting a trip to the basement. (I’ll use it to store “company is coming” dishes.)

Christmas boxes, spare china cabinet, and bric-a-brac - oh my!

The second room, our living room, contains superfluous items from the dining room, a box of clothing my mother shipped out, some garden items, and Better Half. I can move Better Half around with ease but the other items must remain where they
are while I work on Other Areas.

The kitchen. Don’t get me started on this room. I simply have not had the time to wash my floor. It isn’t sticky (dogs are a blessing) but I can’t stand flecks of anything on my floor or perfectly white countertops. Flecks would include a simple tea cup rin
g on the surface itself. Must. Bleach. Counters.

Moving upstairs, we find more furniture. Oodles of it. Spread through three rooms.

My parents plan to move to Ohio, and they do not want to take all of their furniture. They are working on two options: take their bedroom set and store it or leave their bedroom set. Either way, they will stay with us for a month or two while they
look for a new home, and they will require a bed to sleep in. We don’t mind if they stay longer.

My grandmother’s bedroom set is now set up in our bedroom. This is the largest room upstairs, and my parents will need the space for their CPAP machines and oxygen concentrators. Also, we didn’t have a bedroom set. Seriously. We had a bed held together with best wishes, a dresser with more nails in the leg than an ostrich has as
s feathers, and two end tables for night stands. My parents will now have a dresser for their clothing, nightstands (the end tables must remain), a chest of drawers, a mirror and plenty of bedding when they arrive.

My mother is thrilled over the prospect of sleeping in her old bed again. She shared the bed with her mother from the age of sixteen until she moved to New York City. So many memories of her youth and young adult years.

For my part, I am thrilled as well. This bed was my second bed on weekends, shared with
my grandmother. The dresser is much shorter than I remember it being, and the hope chest is no longer with the set, but I can still run my fingers over the pineapple-capped posters and retreat back to those special years when I hadn’t any cares or burdens.

I can hear my No
nna humming in the kitchen. I recall all the building’s sighs and whispers. The landlady, Mrs. Baumen, grew roses in the back garden and the heady scent was more than just intoxicating during the spring - it was deliciously enthralling. I would sit in the middle of the bed (so large then!) and make believe that I was riding in a gilded coach, a flying carpet, a sailing ship, or a rocket. I would pretend to be my mom as a young girl, with real sisters (I am an only child.) Once I became bored with my play, I would tug on Nonna’s skirt and she would put aside her tasks and play kickball or hide and seek with me. We would board the bus and go on adventures that always ended in pony rides or Griffith’s Observatory. We would return for lunch and then I was picked up and tucked into that comforting bed for my nap.

Years later, I experienced an old distortion of time. I ran my fingers over dresser top, feeling the cool pine under my fingertips. I quietly cried. My Nonna was just arou
nd the corner, perhaps laughing because I couldn’t see her as we played hide and seek. Her voice - a voice I haven’t heard in over two decades - sang “you are my sunshine” as clearly as if she were there with me. I recalled the fresh roses, the soothing scent of her soap and the glint of sunshine that always seemed to warm my side of the bed. I felt peace.

I can only imagine what my mother will feel when she experiences her own dormant memories.

Alas, the damn dresser mirror has not been set up yet. The outlet, which hides behind the dresser, has once ag
ain mysteriously died. (I replaced it last week with excellent results. God only knows what the hell is wrong with the upstairs wiring.) The night stand is in my office, as I didn’t want to place it until we had the mirror/outlet problem fixed. Meanwhile, the spare room now contains the old dresser as well as a ton of Better Half’s wucking Battletech. The bathroom is in need of repainting and has a loose tile that wants mending. My desk apparently got sick and threw up several reams of paper, CDs, battery chargers, camera equipment, books, a plastic snack tub, and some dog toys.

The basement is menacing. It has regained its Dungeon title. We hope to have all the boxes transferred to the garage so that I can wash down walls and floor. My laundry area is the test site for nuclear weapons. My sewing machine is coated in drying fuzz. It smells like a basement and I loathe basement smell. It needs to smell like a spring meadow or laundry soap. I would accept it smelling like dog farts at this point. Anything is better than that musty scent basements pick up when they serve little purpose and are neglected.

In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. That is not to say that this house is a struggle concerning England and France, although as time passes, my “England”, or bedroom, is quickly becomin
g a safe haven for escaping the insanity perpetrated by the house cleaning endeavor. There isn’t any political connection at all. It is my hope that I can show Better Half the negative aspects to “put off until later” aka “snowballs become avalanches”. However, chaotic or orderly, our house is still our house.

Alright, there is absolutely noth
ing that actually ties Dickens to my house woes. I simply wanted to use the quote in something. I’ll go back to Posleen now.

John Ringo: Posleen War Posleen War Series.
My Posleen woes are

Update: the mirror is now on the wall. At an angle. It's okay. It's Up. Up is Good.